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Gregory, Alexandria, Colome, S-M-C vying for state teener title

The state B varsity teener baseball tournament is wide open.

Or at least that is what a few of the coaches of participating teams said leading up the the tournament, which starts today in Flandreau and runs through Sunday.

Heading into the tournament, Gregory, Eureka-Selby, Garretson, Colome and Salem-Montrose-Canova all have at least 20 wins.

“It should be a fun tournament to play in,” said Gregory coach Vic Warnke, whose team is 21-3. “I think once you get to the final eight teams anyone can win and it is about anybody’s tournament.”

Gregory plays Alexandria at 2:30 p.m. today. Gregory reached state by defeating Colome in the Region 4B championship.

Warnke said his team has not played Alexandria this season, but is looking forward to meeting the Region 2B runner-up. Alexandria heads into the tournament 14-8 after finishing second to Salem-Montrose-Canova in the Region 2B tournament.

Colome (20-7) opens its tournament at 5:30 p.m. today against Eureka-Selby. This will be the first time Colome has participated in the 15-16 teener state tournament.

“It was my kids’ goal all year long to make the state tournament,” Colome coach Ferman Harter said. “They had to struggle through the region tournament to get here, but you’ve got to hand it to the kids. They met their goal.”

Colome is led by Chase Hrabanek, who leads the team in stolen bases, and Reed Harter, who has a 9-3 record on the mound. Ferman Harter said he will step down as a teener coach after manning the dugout for 12 years. He cited wanting to watch his son play Legion next year as the reason he will stop coaching.

Harter said being able to take both the 13-14 and the 15-16 teeners to the state tournament this year was the highlight of his career.

Salem-Montrose-Canova coach Craig Cheeseman also believes that by tournament’s end, any team could be the champion.

“We have had a pretty good year,” Cheeseman said. “If we play well, we will have a good chance at winning it all. But there are some other good teams who have a chance to win it, too.”

S-M-C heads into state with the most wins of any team at the tournament at 26. S-M-C has three losses on the season, one of which came to Class A Dell Rapids and the other two came to the Sioux Falls Cyclones, a traveling team based in Sioux Falls. Cheeseman said the success comes from strong pitching, defense and timely hitting.

The lineup, which features Luke Loudenberg, Cole Cheeseman, Anthony Tuschen, Bryce Roth, Jesse Muth, Kylar Hansen, Isaac Anderson and Will Gottlob, is hitting .319 with an on-base percentage of .560.

Salem-Montrose-Canova takes on Flandreau in the final game at 7:30 p.m. today. Alexandria coach Peyton Smith did not return messages left by The Daily Republic for this story.